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An early example of videoconferencing in education.

The Evolution of Video Collaboration Technology

We are surrounded by video technology every single day. Today’s Internet experience is completely inundated with video. We stream the latest news online, catch up on sports highlights, watch our favorite shows and movies and yes, even catch the occasional cat video on YouTube. Apps like Vine and Instagram have given anyone with a smartphone the ability to quickly capture, edit and share videos with their social networks.

Video technology will continue to evolve, providing higher quality and more delivery methods, all for lower costs. And hardware evolutions such as wearable computing will continue to increase consumer and business demand for easily consumable and shareable video.

An early example of video conferencing in education.

While a comprehensive history of video technology would be better suited for Wikipedia, let’s take a look back briefly at how video collaboration technology has evolved, and where we find ourselves today.

The Early Days

The idea of communicating face-to-face over long distances was conceptualized almost immediately after the telephone itself was invented. While at the time these ideas were merely the stuff of science fiction, early attempts at the technology date back as far as the as the early 20th Century. However, the computing and resources required were staggering and incredibly expensive.

It wasn’t until the early 1980s that video technology began to evolve into a commercially viable product, with large, expensive systems becoming smaller, more cost-effective to produce and capable of providing higher frame rates and better video quality.

Video for All

Eventually, expensive proprietary video systems gave way to more standardized hardware, software and equipment requirements. As video codecs and other compression methods became more sophisticated, video conferencing arrived on the personal computer. Through the 2000s and up until today, the use of video for collaboration or simply chatting with friends has exploded in popularity thanks to consumer-level offerings that allow for easy—albeit low-quality—point-to-point video conferencing.

On the business side, collaboration tools like iMeet® and GlobalMeet® have evolved alongside the underlying video technologies, offering high-quality, low-bandwidth video streaming on an enterprise-grade network infrastructure. One of the primary technological components of our video technology is the H.264 video codec, an industry standard in high-quality, low-latency video that doesn’t strain business networks.

Mobile Video

The mobile revolution impacts every facet of our personal and professional lives, and video collaboration is no exception. As bandwidth requirements decrease and high-speed wireless internet becomes more readily available, users are able to view, create and share video directly from their mobile devices. Services like YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu Plus and more are providing high-definition video literally into the palms of our hands. And advances in technology such as HTML5 have allowed easier distribution of video through a wide variety of mediums to our mobile devices.

Mobile video collaboration is the future for an increasingly remote, on-the-go workforce. As flexible work options and teleworking become more popular, it’s vital that web and video conferencing solutions provide powerful, full-featured mobile options for the new generation of road warriors.

For more insights on the technologies powering collaboration, download “The IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing” today.

Photo Credit: Yvonne Marie Andres

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